AMNH Shelf Life

I’ve never been to the American Museum of Natural History (it’s on the “to visit” list!) but now the museum is coming to me via the magical medium of YouTube. AMNH has launched a video series called Shelf Life, through which you can get a behind the scenes tour of parts of their collection.

The show debuted in November, with an episode on collections in general (and fish in particular). Two more episodes have since gone up, one per month. The production quality of the videos is really good, but they managed to stay within the YouTube attention span.

The most recent episode is about the coelacanth, which actually ties in nicely with my last post about the Tiktaalik, so you might want to watch that.

I can’t help but wonder, though, if they modeled it after the Field Museum’s (acquired) Brain Scoop series, but it is clearly a different concept, with different people on screen in every episode. Each episode is also accompanied by a web page with more information, so it’s more in depth than just the videos. I really liked the turtles and taxonomy episode and web page.

It’s good to see another museum embrace online video to share their collection, and I can’t wait until February’s episode, which is all about the olinguito!

3 thoughts on “AMNH Shelf Life”

  1. More museums should take advantage of the internet to showcase their collections. Both as a way to involve people who have not been to their physical museum, and also to begin to display some of their collection that is not on public display. So many museums boast of the size of their collection, yet will have a very small fraction of it available for public viewing. It can be frustrating to go to a museum that I have not visited in years and still see the same things that I remember seeing on display so many years ago. Maybe with places like youtube, they can at least show some of their things they have in storage and tell more detailed stories than what they can tell in a brief note nailed to the wall next to the item on view.

  2. Howdy- I’m the producer of Shelf Life and writing just as myself (and a BIG fan of The Finch & Pea), wanted to say thanks so much for featuring the series! Re: The Brain Scoop, I’m definitely an enthusiast (and it just so happens the producer, Tom, is my husband), but we’re very much our own beast. Shelf Life has been in the works ever since I was six years old and blown away by the mastodon at the Florida History Museum. I’m a long-time, old-school, hard-core museum nerd, so I’m thrilled to be able to share even a tiny portion of the amazing stuff I see every day. And just as importantly, I love featuring some of the collections folks that don’t normally get a spotlight from the outside world. Anyway, cheers for watching and thanks for the kind words!

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